The Rev

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Jimmy "The Rev" Sullivan
The Rev of Avenged Sevenfold.JPG
Jimmy "The Rev" Sullivan in 2007
Background information
Birth name James Owen Sullivan
Also known as The Rev, Rathead, The Reverend Tholomew Plague, Fiction
Born (1981-02-09)February 9, 1981
Huntington Beach, California, U.S.
Died December 28, 2009(2009-12-28) (aged 28)
Huntington Beach, California, U.S.
Genres Heavy metal, alternative metal, hard rock, metalcore, progressive metal, avant-garde metal, ska punk
Occupation(s) Musician, songwriter, Multi instrumentalist
Instruments Drums, vocals, guitar, piano, keyboards
Years active 1998-2009
Labels Warner Bros., Good Life, Hopeless, Bucktan
Associated acts Avenged Sevenfold, Pinkly Smooth, Brian Haner, Suburban Legends
For the style used when addressing clergy, see The Reverend.

James Owen Sullivan (February 9, 1981 – December 28, 2009),[1] more commonly known by his stage name The Rev (shortened version of The Reverend Tholomew Plague), was an American musician and songwriter, best known as the drummer and founding member for the American heavy metal band Avenged Sevenfold. The Rev was critically acclaimed for his work on Avenged Sevenfold albums, and contributed entire songs written by himself, such as Chapter Four, Afterlife, A Little Piece of Heaven and Almost Easy. He was also the lead vocalist/pianist in Pinkly Smooth, a side project where he was known by the name Rathead, with fellow Avenged Sevenfold member and childhood best friend, guitarist Synyster Gates, and he was the drummer for Suburban Legends from 1998 to 1999.


Sullivan grew up and lived in Orange County, CA.[2] He received his first pair of drum sticks at the age of five and own drum set at the age of ten.[3] In high school, he started playing in bands. Before leaving to join Avenged Sevenfold as one of the band's founding members, Sullivan was the drummer for the third wave ska band Suburban Legends. At the age of twenty he recorded his first album with Avenged Sevenfold titled Sounding the Seventh Trumpet. His early influences included Frank Zappa and King Crimson. The Rev said in a Modern Drummer Magazine interview that "I was raised on that stuff as much as rock and metal."[3]

Later in life he was influenced by drummers Vinnie Paul, Mike Portnoy, Dave Lombardo, Lars Ulrich, Joey Jordison and Terry Bozzio.[4] He even had a "visual influence", Tommy Lee, on which he commented that "I never thought I'd have one of those."[3] Sullivan had a signature ability called 'the double-ride thing' or 'The Double Octopus', as the Rev called it, "just for lack of a better definition".[5] 'the double-ride thing' is a technique that can be heard on tracks such as "Almost Easy", "Critical Acclaim", "Crossroads", and "Dancing Dead" in which Sullivan doubles up at a fast tempo between the double bass and ride cymbals.

The Rev was also a vocalist, songwriter, and pianist for Avenged Sevenfold. His piano-playing can be heard on the tracks "Seize the Day", "Fiction", "Save Me" and "Warmness on the Soul", where he pops up at the end of the music video like a screamer. His vocals are featured in Avenged Sevenfold's "The Art of Subconscious Illusion ", "Unholy Confessions", "Chapter Four", "Remenissions", "Desecrate Through Reverence", "Eternal Rest", "Second Heartbeat", "I Won't See You Tonight Part 2", "Clairvoyant Disease", "And All Things Will End", "Bat Country", "Strength of the World", "Burn it Down", "M.I.A.", "Critical Acclaim", "Almost Easy", "Scream", "Afterlife", "Gunslinger", "Brompton Cocktail", "Lost", "A Little Piece of Heaven", "Crossroads", "Flash of the Blade", "Fiction", and "Save Me". He also wrote the songs "Chapter Four", "Desecrate Through Reverence", "Clairvoyant Disease", "The Wicked End", "Brompton Cocktail","Almost Easy", "A Little Piece of Heaven", "Afterlife", "Fiction", "Welcome to the Family," the piano part of "Save Me", and "Demons". The demo track of "Buried Alive" is the only released song by Avenged Sevenfold to feature The Rev on lead vocals.

Avenged Sevenfold also released a demo version of Nightmare, featuring The Rev on an electric drumset and some vocals of his.

At the second annual Revolver Golden God Awards, The Rev won the award for Best Drummer. His family members and Avenged Sevenfold received the honor on his behalf.[6]

In an Ultimate Guitar online reader's poll of the "Top Ten Greatest Drummers of All Time", The Rev made the list at #8, placing higher than Bill Ward (Black Sabbath), and underneath Keith Moon (The Who).


The Rev was endorsed by DW, Sabian Cymbals, Evans Drumheads, and Pro-Mark drumsticks. The Rev also used Zildjian Cymbals for the recording of the Self Titled and Diamonds in the Rough. He used 2 Z3 Megabell Rides, an A Custom Crash, 2 Oriental Chinas, and an Avedis Zildjian Hi-Hat, with that he had a Sabian AAX Crash, 2 Sabian Splashes, and a Sabian Chopper Disc. The Rev used Remo Drumheads for the recording of the Self Titled and Diamonds in the Rough. He used Remo Controlled Sound Clear Black Dots on the Toms, and Powerstroke 3 on the Bass. The Rev also used a Double Bass Pedal instead of two single bass pedals for the recording of the Self Titled and Diamonds in the Rough. The Rev also used three other kits during the tour of the Self Titled. He had a white with black lugs drum kit used during 2007. He used the famous Triple Bass kit during 2008-2009 for the US tour, and then he used a Salmon-Pink designed drum kit for international gigs from 2008-2009.

DW Collectors Series Drums (Snakeskin wrap with black hardware, Maple) 22x18 Bass Drums (one for show) x3 14x5 Lava Oyster with Chrome Hardware snare 8x5 Tom (Not used on tour) 8x7 Tom 10x8 Tom 12x9 Tom 14x11 Tom 16x14 Tom 18x16 Tom

Hardware DW DW 9500D Series Hi Hat stand DW 9300 Series Snare Stand DW 9000 Single Pedal x2

Rack Pieces DW DW 42" Curved Bar x3 (To mount toms and cymbals) DW 36" Straight Bar x4 (To hold up the 42" bars) DW 12" Straight Bar (To connect middle 42" bar to the right 42" bar) DW Leg Assembly x4 DW Tube Top Cymbal Adapter x3 DW 90° Angle Clamp (To connect main 42" bar to 36" bar) DW 9" Small Cymbal Arm x4 DW 18" Large Cymbal Arm x7 DW 1/2" L Arm Tom Holder x7 DW V rack Clamp x16 (to hold all cymbal arms and tom arms DW Clamp with drum key screw x6 Several DW Hinged Memory Locks

Cymbals Sabian "14" HHX X-Celerator Hi Hats "16" AAX X-Plosion Crash "18" AAX X-Plosion Crash "8" Chopper "22" AAX Metal Rides x2 "19" AAX X-Treme Chinese "20" AA Metal-X Chinese "10" AAX Splash "11" Max Splash "10" HH China Kang/"12" HH Mini China (He would switch up from time to time) "12" ice bell

Pro-Mark Drumsticks The Natural Wood Tip 5B, although he used Ahead 5Bs for the recording of the Self-Titled album and Diamonds In The Rough.

Evans Drumheads G2 Tom Batter. G1 Tom Resonant. Power Center Reverse Dot Snare. Hazy 300 Resonant. Emad Bass. Resonant Black.

Death and legacy[edit]

The Rev was found dead in his Huntington Beach home on December 28, 2009. Police ruled out foul play and noted his death appeared to be from natural causes. An autopsy performed on December 30, 2009 was inconclusive, but toxicology results revealed to the public in June that he died from an overdose of oxycodone [1](Percocet), oxymorphone (a metabolite of oxycodone), diazepam (Valium), nordiazepam (a metabolite of diazepam) and alcohol. The coroner noted cardiomegaly (enlarged heart) as a "significant condition" that may have played a role in Sullivan's death.[7]

On January 6, 2010, a private funeral was held for Sullivan, and then he was buried in Huntington Beach, California.[8] Shortly after his death, Avenged Sevenfold dedicated their fifth studio album Nightmare (released that same year) to him, as well as several songs, including "So Far Away", which had been written by band mate (and childhood friend) Synyster Gates; and "Fiction", which The Rev wrote three days before his death.[9][10] M. Shadows and Synyster Gates have stated in an interview to Hard Drive Radio:

His drum kit is now on display at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas.[citation needed] His kit from the 2008 "Taste of Chaos" tour is on display at the Hard Rock Cafe in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.[11]


With Suburban Legends[edit]

With Pinkly Smooth[edit]

  • Unfortunate Snort (2001)

With Brian Haner[edit]

  • Cougar Bait (2008)
  • Fistfight at the Wafflehouse (2010)

With Avenged Sevenfold[edit]


  1. ^ a b "MTV Newsroom". 2009-12-29. Retrieved 2011-10-28. 
  2. ^ "Huntington Beach Independent". 2010-02-17. Retrieved 2011-10-28. 
  3. ^ a b c "''Modern Drummer Magazine Interview Oct. 2006''". Retrieved 2011-10-28. 
  4. ^ "January 5, 2010". Retrieved 2011-10-29. 
  5. ^ "DRUM! Magazine Interview Nov. 2007". Retrieved 2011-10-28. 
  6. ^ "Revolver Golden Gods Awards 2010: The Winners | Latest News". Metal Injection. 2010-04-09. Retrieved 2011-10-28. 
  7. ^ Jon Wiederhorn. "Avenged Sevenfold Drummer Died of Accidental Overdose". Rolling Stone. 
  8. ^ "The Good Shepherd Cemetery". Find A Grave. Retrieved 2011-10-28. 
  9. ^ a b "Has The New Avenged Sevenfold Album Been Given A Title?". Metal Hammer. May 14, 2010. Retrieved May 14, 2010. 
  10. ^ "Avenged Sevenfold: The Rev's Passing Steered Album's Lyrical Direction | Interviews @". Retrieved 2011-09-20. 
  11. ^ "Memorabilia". Hard Rock Cafe. Retrieved July 14, 2013.